Do I Need a Legal Videographer for Remote Deposition?

Professional movie camera lens on a movie set

Not all remote depositions need to be recorded. However, just as recordings of in-person depositions are inadmissible in court unless a legal videographer creates them, you will also need a videographer for admissible remote depositions. Hiring a legal videographer for your remote deposition can come with a price tag of several hundred dollars plus additional fees for extra services. Not to mention the headaches and hassles involved in the logistics of the videographer recording the proceeding in the software platform that you’re using and making a copy available for you, along with the potential of technical difficulties that could cause problems not only with the quality of video you’re receiving but the ability to conduct the deposition in a secure, professional manner.

Fortunately, a one-of-a-kind, legal-first software platform offers the digital space to conduct your remote deposition and a legal videographer who plays an active role in ensuring that your testimony goes off without a hitch.

What Is (and Isn’t) Admissible When It Comes To Recorded Depositions

Most types of video conferencing software, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, do have the ability to record. However, this video does not note when the video begins and when it ends. However, that isn’t the most significant difference between a recording of a deposition and the product provided by a legal videographer. The most notable difference is that your recorded deposition on Zoom is likely not admissible in court, while the legal videographer’s work generally is. 

Federal Rule 30 requires the following regarding oral depositions:

  • Notice provided to the deponent that the deposition will be recorded.
  • Notice to the deponent that the deposition will be conducted remotely.
  • Avoidance of disruption during the deposition or distortion of the deponent or attorney’s appearance on the recording.

A certified videographer is essential to the admissibility of your recorded deposition as they ensure that the recording follows proper protocol and can serve as a substitute for live testimony.

Other Benefits of Having a Legal Videographer Record Your Remote Deposition

Aside from the benefits of having a recording that your legal team can present in court, some of the other benefits of having a legal videographer for your remote deposition include:

  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Having a video substitute for live testimony allows the court to see the facial expressions, detect the tone of voice and many other parts of the testimony that you could not capture in the written transcript.
  • A video synced with the transcript, with recording paused during breaks, instead of having long lulls in the deposition that need to be edited out.
  • The ability to ensure that technical difficulties are addressed promptly and expertly to avoid disruption or distortion.
  • The peace of mind knowing that your recording remains in the custody of a neutral professional, not a party with interest in the case.
  • The ability to create more effective and powerful court presentations, including clips from the video to show at trial.
  • A certification that the video recording is accurate and meets the many requirements videographers must follow for the video to be admissible.

Related: Are You Picking the Right Remote Deposition Service?

Recording a Deposition Without a Legal Videographer

Just as not every deposition requires a transcript, not every recorded deposition requires a legal videographer. Without a videographer, you and your legal team still have a recording that you can use to study the demeanor of the individual being deposed and help form your next steps in discovery far better than you would by using a transcript alone. It is crucial to have the ability with the software platform you’re using to determine whether you need the services of a videographer or whether you can get by without one. This decision should not be automatically made for you.

Must-Haves When Choosing a Software Platform for Your Remote Deposition

In addition to having the ability to determine whether you need a recording or not, there are several other features that you should look for when choosing a software platform on which to conduct remote depositions.

Here is a look at some of the software must-haves:

The Ability to Conduct Remote Depositions Safely and Securely

One of the overriding issues with using Zoom or similar videoconferencing apps is that these platforms offer a generic experience. In other words, the tools available for you are the same tools used by anyone else using the platform. You want a legal-first platform with tools designed specifically for conducting remote depositions that mirrors the format of in-person depositions. 

A Digital Reporter, Videographer, Tech Expert, and a Notary

Providing the proper personnel to conduct an admissible recording of your remote deposition can be costly. With a legal-first solution, you will find not only a certified digital reporter available for you, but they will also provide you with video services, will be on-hand to assist if you experience technical difficulties, and can even provide notary services as well.

Transcript-Video Sync

Without syncing the video to the transcript, your video will feature lulls in which there is no activity due to breaks during the proceeding or the moments your deponent needs to speak with counsel in private. Because your reporter is also your videographer, they will be able to pause the recording during break times quickly.

Compliance with Rule 30

Failing to meet Rule 30 requirements for video-recorded depositions will generally result in losing the ability to present the testimony from the deposition in court. A legal-first platform is designed with compliance in mind to ensure that your video is time and date stamped and otherwise satisfies Rule 30 when you need the deposition for court. However, because needs vary depending on the case and the witness you’re deposing, your platform should provide you the opportunity to obtain only the services you need without the expense of those you don’t.

All-In-One Solution

Your remote deposition platform should provide all of the services you need for all phases of the deposition, including:

  • Pre-deposition includes scheduling the deposition, early entry, and the ability to upload exhibits before the deposition begins. The platform should be easily accessible for participants without requiring a time-consuming account set-up.
  • Deposition services, including video of the witness, audio of all parties, or all audio if you do not need video services. Exhibits should be presented full-screen, with zoom capabilities, and you should have the option of private conference rooms where off-the-record conversations can take place.
  • Post-deposition is where the platform should deliver, allowing exhibits to be downloaded and provide a quick summary of the deposition. The video should also be available quickly after the deposition ends and conveniently synchronized with the rough draft of the transcript. You should have the option to pull up any part of the video or transcript with a single click. A certified transcript is available within 6-10 days, and you will be notified when it is ready for you.

Your platform should provide hosting for up to seven years, should you need access to any documents produced or the exhibits used in the deposition. Additionally, everything is downloadable, so you have the choice to use your file storage system.

A Single Payment for All Needed Services

Usually, remote depositions involve several expenses to different parties, including payments for a reporter and videographer, secure storage of documents produced during the testimony, a rough transcript draft, and a certified transcript. Your legal first remote deposition platform should provide a way for you to make a single payment for all of the services.

Related: How Much Does a Video Deposition Cost?

Need a Legal Videographer? Remote Legal Has You Covered

Remote depositions save time and money in many ways, reducing travel costs related to discovery and the time taken by scheduling, traveling, and attending an in-person deposition, as well as saving time on post-deposition activities, such as obtaining a copy of the transcript and video. Remote Legal’s legal-first platform helps save time and money by providing an all-inclusive price for their services. Our solution includes a fast setup, AI-based transcriptions, certified transcripts (when needed), video recording by a legal videographer, up to seven years of hosted storage of the documents produced for and by the deposition, and much more.

Remote depositions are becoming more and more accepted in the legal industry. Let Remote Legal help you experience the ease and efficiency of remote depositions – contact us to schedule your free demo.

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